Effects of sex, social desirability, and birth order on the Defense Mechanisms Inventory

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Investigated the effect of sex difference, social desirability instructions, and the birth order of respondents on the Defense Mechanisms Inventory (DMI). Using 30 male and 30 female undergraduates, half of the Ss in each group were given regular instructions, and the other half were instructed to respond so as to present a favorable impression. It was hypothesized that a sex difference would be found on Turning-Against-Others (TAO) and Turning-Against-Self (TAS) and that social desirability instructions would result in significant differences for TAO, Projection (PRO), Principalization (PRN), and Reversal (REV). It was further hypothesized that firstborns would report less TAO than later borns. In contrast to previously published reports on the DMI, a sex difference was found on PRO only. Further, social desirability effects were found on TAO, PRO, PRN, and REV. It is suggested that caution is needed regarding the use of the DMI because of its apparent high susceptibility to social desirability response biases. (11 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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